Thank you for your coverage of the shíshálh Nation’s Kamloops children memorial in the June 4 Coast Reporter. We are living a historic moment, when we are finally hearing the sad truths of what we call the colonial enterprise.
Our family had the great privilege of witnessing the ceremony at the shíshálh Nation residential school memorial site, convened by former chief Garry Feschuk. Garry was a leader in the fight for recognition of the day school survivors and is now dedicated to the project of Reconciliation, syiyaya, which welcomed a few of us non-Indigenous people to witness the moving ceremony.
In contrast to the palpable pain was the beautiful strength of young people who know that this is their land and take pride in their culture – a culture these schools tried to exterminate. Several strong female and male elders sang, danced, and drummed with a group of teenagers. They all sang and danced their hearts out, and I saw the young people knew exactly who they are and where they belong. They are honoured members of their Nation; they have a future and an obligation.
My hope is that the inter-generational trauma of these schools will loosen its grip with each generation, freer and prouder than the last. I’m inspired by young people who grow up alongside their elders with a spirit of belonging to a tradition or community greater than themselves, in a place with sacred memories.
May it be so for all our children and grandchildren.
Bonnie Sherr Klein, Roberts Creek